According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, free agent LaMarcus Aldridge has crossed the Los Angeles Lakers off of his list.
Despite reports from ESPN that Aldridge's Tuesday night meeting with the Lakers went "really well," Bresnahan tweeted earlier today that Aldridge will spurn the Lakers due to his dissatisfaction with the basketball aspect of team's presentation.
LaMarcus Aldridge will not be joining the Lakers, The Times has learned. They were a 50-50 choice but he disliked bball part of presentation— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 1, 2015
Los Angeles is a huge market and historically attractive destination for star players, but Aldridge was apparently hoping the Lakers could offer more on-court advantages. Bresnahan also reported that Kobe Bryant led some of the basketball-related discussions, but that when he spoke, he failed to deliver a message that resonated with Aldridge.
More LMA: He and Kobe didn't quite gel. It's a little vague, but Aldridge apparently didn't quite get answers from Kobe he was seeking.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 1, 2015
Kobe spoke for about three minutes in the presentation, said he envisioned LaMarcus Aldridge working with him the same way Pau Gasol did.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 1, 2015
After these reports were released and the inevitable Twitter hysteria followed, Aldridge's representation agency, Wasserman Media Group, sent out a clear message in an attempt to debunk the circulating rumors.
.@aldridge_12 has not made any decisions yet. All reports to the contrary are false & he looks forward to sharing his plans soon.— Wasserman Media Grp (@Wasserman) July 1, 2015
TNT's David Aldridge confirms that Aldridge's camp is strongly denying the reports that he has already ruled the Lakers out.
The @aldridge_12 camp pushing back hard against LAT story that he's already eliminated the Lakers from consideration: "completely false."— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 1, 2015
Although Aldridge may not have officially informed the Lakers he won't be signing with them, it sounds like Aldridge wasn't too excited about the prospect of playing the Paul Gasol role and letting Bryant run the show. CBSSports.com's Matt Moore offers commentary about Bryant's recruiting struggles, as well as other factors that could have contributed to Aldridge's disenchantment with Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant may not be hurting the Lakers in free agency, but he's not helping things. This is the third top free agent in three years to turn the Lakers down, after Dwight Howard left under the cloud of an infamous clash with Bryant, and then Carmelo Anthony spoke with Bryant, who he's friends with, and still decided to return to LA. Melo you can throw out because of the money and Phil Jackson. Fine. But it's clear that Bryant isn't acting as any sort of huge push here.
Aldridge and his team have reportedly met with the Lakers, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns, and still plan to meet with the New York Knicks. The Portland Trail Blazers' offers and position are reportedly already known to Aldridge.